tv ABC 7 News at 1100AM ABC September 10, 2010 10:00am-10:30am PST
twizzlers. the twist you can't resist. ♪ we saw like fire coming from down. it's behind our backyard. and it's like all lights. i thought this is judgment day. >> these are the grim scenes of devastation in the san bruno neighborhood. now search crews are looking for more victims of last night's deadly inferno caused by a ruptured gas line. >> here's the latest on the fire. four people have been declared
dead, at least 52 others injured, including at least four who are in the hospital with critical burns. four firefighters have also been taken to the hospital. officials revised the property damage downward. they say 38 homes have been completely destroyed and seven others have serious damage. >> so far the fire burned 15 acres in san bruno's crestmore neighborhood. it's now about 75% contained. san bruno police are declared the entire burn area a crime scene in order to secure it and the national transportation safety board has sent what's called a go-team to help investigate what caused the explosion. >> here's a live picture from above the devastation. you can see that crater, the 15 foot crater caused by an explosion now filled with water. overhead showing a smoky scene. firefighters still putting water on hot spots and account for missing people. live in san bruno avenue. terry, so many people not sure what happened to their homes. >> they're not sure.
when you take a look at the epicenter thereof that 15 foot crater in the middle of all there where the natural gas explosion occurred, you get an idea how sudden it was, how strong it was. people had to leave their homes immediately. here is the incident command center. you've got firefighters from a number of jurisdictions, police as well, ambulances standing by just in case. now, take a look at video from a short time ago. cadaver dogs searching the wreckage for more victims. and there are more who don't know if their house is still standing. somewhere in this picture is where the picari family hones a home but don't know if it's still there. >> we have a home right in here someplace. >> right here? >> hopefully we have a home there. >> antoinette's daughter is praying there's something to go back to. >> my whole childhood is there and they've got all their papers and pictures and documents. everything is there. >> when will they let you in?
>> we don't know. that's what i'm waiting to find out. >> those two and everyone else is wondering how could this happen? the national transportation safety board is dispatching a go-team made of up investigators to try to find the cause. pg&e says it was their 24 inch natural gas pipe that blew sending flames 1,000 feet into the air incinerating 38 homes and damaging seven. >> you could feel the heat coming through the window. we started to see the window crack from the heat. and when i stepped out into the backyard, i could see the stucco popping off my neighbor's house behind us. >> the blast left a 15-foot deep crater and ruptured the adjacent water main. when firefighters arrived they had no water pressure in the hydrants and had to wait 15 minutes before they fought the fire with tanker trucks. the investigation into what went wrong has not really begun. >> we've yet to be able to get close enough to the actual
source to be able to determine exactly why this happened. but we are working diligently to do that. >> as for reports that residents have been reporting the smell of natural days or even weeks out here, pg&e says they're checking their records. initial estimate of the damage done in this neighborhood runs to the tens of millions of dollars. the death toll stands at four. both of those numbers may change. live in san bruno, terry mcsweeney, abc 7 news. mark matthews is in san bruno to tell us about the state of emergency declared bit lieutenant governor. mark? >> the lieutenant governor is here. also a state senator, state assemblyman, congressman jackie spear, quite a lineup of civic leaders coming to talk about what has happened in san bruno. his heart goes out to the victims. >> we know a natural gas line ruptured yesterday around 6:24
p.m. but we don't know what caused it or what happened. we will find out soon it the state of emergency will allow state funds to pay for the cost of fighting the fire. san bruno mayor told reporters a dark cloud hangs over his city. >> you've heard the numbers. but what we have to deal with in the very near future is the stress, the anxiety, the uncertainness in the minds of all of the people that are directly affected. >> congresswoman jackie spears says she will set up a district office. >> we will file claims for insurance and i'm calling upon all the state insurance companies to create desks at the evacuation site so they can begin that process as well. >> state senator leland yee and assemblyman terry hill both describing san bruno as a unique, close-knit community.
the number of homes damaged and destroyed in the fire is much lower than what was reported last night. san bruno's fire chief provided the latest count after walking through the neighborhood this morning. >> our latest count which we finally did a walk-through, 38 homes destroyed and seven with significant damage. i think last figures we had prior to that were during the heat of the fire and we did a fly-over and i think there was a lot of smoke, a lot of distortion that maybe the homes weren't damaged but the smoke covered them and it may be assumed those houses were damaged. >> with me acting governor maldanato. we heard you say you don't know what happened but what is your office doing to find out what happened and find out from pg&e what was wrong with that pipe? and that's the most important thing right now. we've got an intergroup looking to find out what happened. we have a 30-inch pipeline 40
feet underground that was 60 years old. we need to find out what happened soon. it's a crime scene. we're going through, trying to keep constituents -- i know they want to go see their home, see their property. but still there's a huge safety concern at the site. >> we asked pg&e this morning if there had been problems. they were unable to tell us. we heard neighbors say they smelled gas in that neighborhood. have you been able to get any information on either of those points? >> i'm at the same point where the neighbors are. we heard from neighbors they smelled gas for a week or two. some say ten days. i wanna know who they called and what the response was. san bruno isn't the only city in california that has 30-inch gas pipelines to their homes. >> has that neighborhood been outfitteds with smart meters. >> i can't answer that. there's a lady that came up to me. she's miss being three loved
ones. i don't know my heart is broken. it's still a problem, a safe concern. >> let me explain the smart meter question, if you have meter readers checking on the meters, they might notice the gas. if they're smart meters and they're being electronically read, you don't have those people in the field. >> i don't know. that's a question we have to ask. pg&e can answer that question, obviously. we want answers. we want answers. i can tell that you on behalf of the state of california and the city of san bruno. we put all our resources here last night. we all came together. now it's time to help folks, get 'em back on their feet. people are donating clothes, food, water. >> a lot of people out here trying to help. i really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us. thank you very much. >> all right. reporting live from san bruno, mark matthews. >> the lieutenant governor had to declare the state of emergency because governor schwarzenegger is out of the country and has made his first
official comment on the san bruno explosion and fire. he did it on twitter. he got briefed by lieutenant governor maldanato. glad i left the state in good hands. so far it's the governor's only comment on the disaster. >> as you might imagine, the fire knocked out power to the area. at the height of the fire, some 5,000 pg&e customers were without electricity. pg&e says power is still out to about 700 customers. about 300 customers are without gas and three at&t cellphone towers are running on emergency power. skyline college does have power and is holding classes this morning. all elementary schools in the san bruno school district are closed as well as parkside intermediate. but constantine no high school is open and offering brief counselors to any person who needs to talks.
the san bruno residents badly burned were taken to san francisco hospital in san francisco. hoping you have information about the victims' conditions soon? >> yes. very soon we're going to have a news conference here in less than half an hour. four people were brought here from peninsula hospitals because their burns were too severe to be treat there had and, of course, they have the exper cease here. they were brought in last night. they've been treated at san mateo county hospital to stabilize their conditions. most notably they're breathing and doctors were standing by here to treat them with the expertise and burn care and to manage the pain that they have. they've been working with the victims overnight. we have the latest information on their condition. >> one person is in stable condition with serious burns, and three patients have critical burns that are stable. they meet burn center criteria which means they have a significant burn or the emergency department physicians and teams in the bay area and pretty much all emergency
departments are the trained to recognize a level of burn that is beyond their expertise and that is when the burn center is here to serve. >> she says treatment can be extensive and may take months depending on the seriousness of the burns. no indication the hospital is going to receive anymore patients. >> expecting from the burn specialist doctors here, probably around 11:30. they say at this hospital it's medical treatment mixed with compassion. live in san francisco, don sanchez, abc 7 news. >> don, thanks a lot. fema halls just announced it authorized funds to battle the fire. affected residents can get all sorts of help at two red cross centers of that been set up. insurance, medical care and loans. laura anthony is live at the veterans memorial rec center with available resources and incredible stories of escape.
laura? >> that's right, kristen. i can tell you first of all only about a dozen people actually spent the night at this shelter but let me show you what it looks like right now. come this morning, many, many more people showed up. these are all folks who have registered as fire victims. they are taking advantage of the donations of that been made here throughout the night. clothing, pillows, blankets, food and the like. you can see there's quite a demand. in the meantime these folks also shared their stories. >> it's indescribable. indescribable! >> she woke with the sun to fails the reality of what happened to her and her neighbors just 12 hours earlier. >> we heard the boom. and then all of a sudden there was a light. like coming from heaven or something. and we didn't know what it was. and my son sails you better get out of here, you goods get out of the here. >> me and my brother carried my grandma down the street. >> walter lived on claremont
drive. >> trying top get out, the whole house was full of fire. crazy. within 20 to 30 seconds our house was on fire so i thank god giving our family a second chance to live. >> can't shake the image of a neighbor boy badly burned. >> i took one of the kids because he had skin just falling off of him. and he's in critical condition. i have friends that work in the e.r. that says he's at st. francis and he's going to be there five months and saw his girlfriend die. >> by midmorning more than 100 people registered here as fire victims making them eligible for everything from a free pancake breakfast to insurance counseling and mental health services. >> you gotta do what you can do. >> and there was an outpouring of support from the community as people dropped off blankets, pillows, food and clothing through the night. >> hopefully maybe whatever, we're in a situation we helped out others and there's people to help us out. >> spent the night with
relatives. they came to the shelter for information about their pet bird and home on fairmont just a few doors up from the explosion. >> luckily we already had our garage door open. >> saddened about all our neighbors that can't go back home. >> it's going to be very hard to see the devastation. >> back live here at the red cross shelter. these are families and individuals who have registered as fire victims. they are now going through all the things donated by the community, gathering whatever they need. sort of an interesting dynamic here. the red cross says at this point they prefer people do not drop off anymore hard goods but instead go to their website and make a monetary donation. as you can see there's quite a demand for hard goods. people have been bringing them all morning. i guess the red cross was telling people not to drop thing
off. today they're accepting things. people are taking what they need. due to the scale of this disaster, they will keep the shelter open for at least a couple more days. live in san bruno, laura anthony, abc 7 news. >> laura, thanks. blood centers say that local hospitals actually do have enough blood right now for all the victims of this fire. burn victims though often need plasma for surgeries. they need o negative blood in the days ahead. they urge you to wait until next week to donate. to find out where, go to our website at abc7news.com. you can see pictures and videos by our viewers. >> we want to share some of the photos our viewers sent in from the san bruno fire. let's take a look. these are from the height of the fire yesterday. firefighters there and you can see those flames just really roaring as the gas fueled it. if you have video you wanna share with us, please upload
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about smoke from manholes in the financial district. they received reports of smoke around 7:30 this morning. fire crews told pg&e they saw smoke but no fire. only one customer lost power and that incident is under investigation. >> president obama said this morning a florida pastor's plan to burn copies of the quran september 11 must be taken seriously because it could cause profound harm to u.s. troops and interests all around the world. yesterday pastor terry jones suspended his plans to burn the holy book on the deal to stop the construction of a mosque in new york. the backers of that project says there's no deal. now jones says he won't follow through with the burning, only if he's able to meet with the mosque organizers tomorrow. right now the organizers say they have no plans to meet with jones. >> mike nicco ahead with the forecast. >> so far the firefighters haven't had much to deal with as far as wind but we'll talk about how that will change tonight and
man: we need a sofa. something i can stretch out on! woman: ooh... that will go with those lamps my mother gave us. or we could get some new lamps. or we could get no sofa. negotiating, eh? you got it! how about a nice home for our tv? how about doors to hide that drive-in theater? how about a cowhide rug? yee-haw! and the snacks? get their own place. let the marathon begin! >> so far the weather conditions have been fairly flavorable for the firefighters. >> absolutely. all you have to do is look
outside and see the absence of fog. keeping the sky rather still. finger fog trying to push through the golden gate which means the marine layer will return tonight. the breezes will pick up also as those clouds push back in. let's take a look what's going on right now. we have a northeast wind around 3 mph. relative humidity pretty high. the temperature going up to 68. thanks to the lack of a sea breeze. we will see east winds about 8 to 20 this afternoon and that west wind will kick in tonight around 10 to 20 mph. also raise the humidity up to about 100%. been fairly favorable for the firefighters to contain that fire. for the rest of us mostly sunny today, the warming continues. it will be cloudy at the coast. most of us will be clear tonight. a few clouds may linger around the bay and sunny and seasonal through the forecast. 76 sunnyvale to 82 los gatos. on the peninsula low to mid-70s with low 60s and sunshine along
the coast. sausalito in the low to mid-70s. low 80s the north bay valleys with low 60s at your beaches and sunshine. 69 richmond. low to mid-70s the east bay shore. warm and not hot, no need for the air conditioner. santa cruz, watson vil, salinas about mid-70s. mid 60s monterey. tonight 49 santa rosa. the rest of us low to mid-50s. morning clouds followed by afternoon sunshine. temperatures remain the low 60s at the coast. mid-70s around the bay and mid-80s inland. >> and stay with us. >> and stay with us. we are waiting for aaaaaaaaaaaaa
>> today son oprah at 4:00, will and jada pinkett smith -- we're going to continue our team coverage on that gas line blast that destroyed a san francisco san bruno neighborhood. we're going to update you on the victims, the investigation, how you can help. and 7 on your side's michael finney will explore the insurance issues that residents are going to have to face in order to rebuild. you're looking at a live picture of the area where firefighters are still trying to make sure that they're keeping on eye on the hot spots there. they have cadaver dogs in there looking for more possible victims. it was just too devastating with the flames last night, too much going on for them to even get a handle on it. >> we're going to stay on the air right now because we're waiting for a news conference to begin at st. francis memorial hospital to give us an update on the burn victims of that been sent there after this fire, at least four patients. right now just a recap what's happened here.
as cheryl mentioned, a 30-inch diameter gas pipe exploded 6:15. you can see live pictures of firefighters putting water on the hot spot, the smoldering ruins. four people have been confirmed dead. dozens of people injured. four firefighters were injured. we're talking about three dozen homes destroyed and at least seven more had some sort of damage. >> this happened in the crestmore canyon area of san bruno in san mateo county. today emergency teams as we talked about are going through the area with cadaver dogs and looking for people who might not have made it out of the area. it's a very sad situation there. and, of course, you've been seeing the images from the shelter of people who are registering with the red cross. hopefully they're going to be registering for emergency aid. we understand that we have state funding coming in and fema funding from the federal
government as well. >> that news conference at st. francis hospital is getting underway. our don sanchez is there. >> the hospital here in san francisco, california, home of the burn center. i am pleased to greet you here today under these very unfortunate and tragic circumstances following the explosion that secured in san bruno yesterday evening. on behalf of tom hennessey and the hospital with our president in the hospital here at st. francis, we do wish to express our condolences to all the families and victims involved in the incident. and we also wish to express our gratitude to all of the first responders and public safety personnel that risked their own lives going into save the persons as best they could.